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Macedonia Appeals to UN Over ‘Name’ Dispute

April 24, 2012

Macedonia’s Foreign Minister on Tuesday is expected to urge the UN Secretary General to take more account of the World Court ruling that deemed Greece’s blockade of Macedonia’s NATO accession illegal.

By Sinisa Jakov Marusic, Balkan Insight, 24.04.2012
Macedonian FM Nikola Poposki

The New York meeting with Ban Ki-Moon is seen as a last-ditch attempt by Macedonia to push its NATO membership bid ahead of the forthcoming Alliance summit in Chicago in May.

“In a situation when Macedonia is seeking to join NATO and the EU, and [1995 UN brokered] Interim Accord guarantees this, we consider that these [World Court rulings] are strong arguments that should be valued,” Nikola Poposki said on Monday after heading for New York.

Greece and Macedonia are locked in a two-decade dispute over how the former Yugoslav republic should call itself. Greece insists that its neighbour’s use of the name “Macedonia” implies a territorial claim to its own northern province of the same name.

Last December, the International Court of Justice, ICJ, ruled that Greece had breached an interim deal brokered by the UN in 1995 when it blocked Macedonia’s attempt to join NATO in 2008.

However,the court did not directly order Greece to stop the blockade, as Macedonia had requested.

While Poposki lobbies the UN, former Foreign Minister Denko Maleski argues that this strategy is not likely to get the country far.

“We are knocking at the wrong door,” Maleski said, adding that the World Court, which works under UN auspices, has no practical means to force a nation or NATO to respect its decisions. He says lobbying influential NATO member states instead would be more worthwhile.

As part of his visit to New York, Poposki is set also to meet the UN mediator in the Macedonia-Greece name talks, Matthew Nimetz, as well as US congressmen and supporters of the Macedonian cause.

In February, Nimetz visited Athens and Skopje for a fresh round of name talks but these ended without a breakthrough.

Most observers doubt that Macedonia will make any real progress in Chicago, especially after influential NATO states repeated that the country needs to settle the name dispute first.

On a visit to Skopje in January, Philip Reeker, US deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, said that despite the court’s ruling, Skopje and Athens would still have to reach a solution to the name dispute before Macedonia could join the alliance.

Similar words have come from NATO’s Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

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One Comment
  1. Bill Gatzoulis permalink

    For the TRUE MACEDONIA please see:

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